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Penguins notebook: Day after acquisition, Pyatt dresses vs. former team

| Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, 8:06 p.m.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins' Taylor Pyatt (left) checks the Rangers' Ryan Callahan in the first period Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, at Consol Energy Center.

Learning coach Dan Bylsma's system without the benefit of a full training camp can be daunting.

The Penguins, however, aren't demanding that left wing Taylor Pyatt, acquired off waivers from the New York Rangers on Thursday, immediately educate himself on the nuances of Bylsma's system.

“We went over a few different things,” Pyatt said. “But the message was to go out and play, to not worry about where I am on the ice, just use my instincts and have fun.”

The Penguins like Pyatt's size and experience. He was in the lineup against the Rangers on Friday night.

“It's significantly different than a call-up from Wilkes-Barre,” Bylsma said of players coming from outside the organization to learn his system.

“We spent time with him (Friday) morning going over a handful of details. I do expect him to step in and bring his attributes to the game. Don't worry about making mistakes. Guys who have been here three years make mistakes.”

Pyatt shouldn't have trouble fitting in with the locker room. One of the well-liked players in the game, Pyatt received a favorable scouting report from fellow Thunder Bay, Ontario, native Robert Bortuzzo.

“He's a really good guy,” Bortuzzo said. “I know him a little bit from back. We skated together some in the summer. He was always good to me. People are going to like him.”

Second for Sid

One of the more consistent months of Sidney Crosby's career wasn't quite enough to be named the league's best player in December. Crosby and Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane each had 23 points in December, but Kane was named the NHL's No. 1 star.

Kane also was given the league's No. 1 star for his work in November, though his 19 points that month were six fewer than center Evgeni Malkin's 25 points. Malkin was awarded the No. 2 star in November.

Crosby, playing in a depleted lineup that saw Malkin — among other big names — out, had at least one point in 13 of his 14 games. He scored nine goals during the month, three of which were game-winners, including an overtime tally against the Islanders.

Crosby led the Penguins to an 11-3 record in December.

Malkin, Letang sit

Center Evgeni Malkin did not participate in Friday's morning skate, but Bylsma suggested there was no setback for the injured center.

Malkin, out since Dec. 14 with a lower-body injury, has been skating regularly with the Penguins during practices for the past week. He did skate by himself Friday.

“He skated at length earlier this morning,” Bylsma said. “He continues to progress.”

Defenseman Kris Letang, recovering from an elbow infection, skated with the Penguins during Friday's morning skate and could soon return to the lineup.

Engelland up front

Defenseman Deryk Engelland played right wing on the fourth line against the Rangers on Friday.

He scored two goals earlier this season playing forward. Moving up cleared the way for rookie defenseman Olli Maatta to return to the lineup after getting a game to rest Tuesday in New Jersey.

Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jyohe@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.

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